Energizer Smoothie II [veggie edition]
I used to hate to exercise. I’ve always been the person who picked the couch over the treadmill (and with fairly good reason, treadmills kinda suck); I was not a member of any sports teams following the age of nine, after an unfortunate season with the town softball league. Throughout high school and most of college I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the gym: I tried cardio kickboxing, the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, Pilates, “boot camp”, even a treacherous yoga endeavor where I managed to accidentally give myself some kind of semi-serious wrist injury that still hurts four years later. Each of these activities ended somehow: I was bored with staring at red numbers on a screen, it got too cold to walk to the gym, the list goes on.
Something changed this past summer. There was a consistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Something that made me feel wobbly and frustrated and disorganized. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this feeling and they combat it in various ways. I’ve heard driving can really help, but I while I do technically possess a driver’s license, I’m not what one would call “experienced” behind the wheel. I think the last time I parallel parked was my driving exam; I have yet to drive on a highway outside of rural Vermont. This is a long way of saying that this summer I started running. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in a while, amid a whole host of unhealthy choices I pretty much consistently make. In all honesty, running is hard. Usually I forget how recently I’ve eaten and start the first ten minutes or so of the run with weird stomach cramps. I definitely broke my toe at one point in July (I honestly don’t know how, I should really wear shoes in my house) and didn’t realize, then ran on it for a while. But other than these tiny issues, running actually feels great. Maybe it’s the wind on my face or the music or the control I feel while speeding (a relative term) down the street.
On Thanksgiving morning I ran an 8K (because apparently runners live in Canada and still use metric?) and I finished the race. It wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go, or to get a big “congratulations!!!” from anyone who heard what I’d done that morning. It was just a thing I did. To see if I could do it. It was exhilarating, and in that moment jumping over the finish line I felt really happy. A huge part of my world kind of crumbled after that day, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about feeling good from a healthy activity. Feeling good from something I do 100% for and with myself, which is actually a tall goddamn order. Can you count more than five things you do for and with yourself that are completely productive? I’m not sure I can. Regardless, every time I finish a run, I kick off my shoes, peel off the six shirts I have to wear to be outside without risking hypothermia -New England in December, anyone?- and make this green smoothie. Whether you’re a runner or a Netflix-watcher or a math major, I guarentee it will make your brain feel good. But if you’re really not into green things, try my first energizer bunny smoothie .
Smoothie (serves 1)
3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1/4 c pineapple coconut water (I use this)
1 medium frozen banana
1/2 c frozen chopped spinach or 3 spinach ice cubes*
2 tsp date cream, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
If using a normal blender, treat it gently by first blending milk, coconut water, and banana until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and liquify. If you have a Vitamix or Magic Bullet (lucky you) just throw everything in all at once!
* How to make spinach ice cubes: wash a large container of fresh spinach, roughly chop, then place in a blender and liquify. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Store in a freezer bag pretty much indefinitely.